How Much Does Your Face Really Cost?

In the past decade, the art of makeup has grown tremendously to say the least.  I’m talking almost 3 million hashtags on Instagram, the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge taking over Twitter, 54 billion views on TikTok, and thousands of makeup tutorials on Youtube.  With the power of social media, anybody and everybody has the ability to share their work with the world.  

Alongside the growth of the beauty community, new and unheard of products and techniques have come to the surface (or should I say screen?).  Trends such as contouring, highlighting, thick brows, and over-lined lips were simply personal preferences before social media made them into essential parts of our everyday makeup routine.  

Just 10 years ago foundation, eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow, and a juicy couture lip gloss was all any girl -- or guy -- needed for a “full face” of makeup.  Now makeup-lovers spend hours completing the perfect look with what seems like hundreds of different products, each with its own unique purpose. 

And I hate to break it to you... but cosmetics aren’t cheap!  Even if you stick with drugstore brands your entire life, you'd probably be shocked to see just how much a full face adds up to be (scroll to the bottom for the final numbers!).

Today we dive into the pros and cons of cheap versus luxury cosmetics and get real about the numbers behind the makeup. 

Spoiler alert: you might want to shield your bank account’s eyes!

As we compare popular drugstore, expensive, and luxury products, follow along and take note of what category most of your favorites fall into.  And don't forget to share your results with us by taking our poll at the bottom of this post!  Ok, I promise I'll stop talking now... read away!

Disclaimer:  Investing in high end products that are both good for the world and your skin is completely okay!  This post is to act simply as an eyeopener to make sure that your money is going to quality brands that work for YOU! You earned that coin sis, treat yourself, but do it intelligently.  All price ranges are estimates and solely based on our observations.  



Stay away from heavy and thick primers that will make your makeup (literally) slide off your face as opposed to stick to it.  Primer should be smooth and light. 


Steer clear of thin foundations, cheap or expensive, that appear patchy and uneven.  Also watch out for those pesky formulas that oxidize while you're not looking.  You don't want to look like you got a bad spray tan -- trust me!
***Pro Tip: Test your foundation on the back of your hand to check for patchiness and oxidation in store before you purchase.  Better safe than sorry!




Just like primer, you should keep an eye out for inexpensive concealers that are heavy and thick.  Coverage doesn't not equal quality all of the time! Dense concealers tend to crease and dry out the skin -- yikes! 

e.l.f. 16hr Camo Concealer


Tarte Shape Tape Concealer 


Terrybly Densiliss Anti Aging Concealer






Powders usually come in translucent, meaning they’ll melt into the skin, or pigmented, meaning they’ll give you some extra coverage.  Inexpensive translucent powders can appear white in photos with flash.  Always do your research or you might just become the next Flashback Mary!



Almay Loose Finishing Setting Powder


Beauty Bakerie Face Flour Baking Powder 


Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder  





Bronzers are hard to mess up (unless they are chalky or have glitter in them -- that usually implies they are pretty cheap.)  Find a shade that is 2-3 tones deeper than your foundation color.  Layer as needed and always make sure to BLEND!


Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer 


Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzer 


Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Matte Bronzer 





Similar to bronzer, a high quality blush, no matter the price point, should never look like it came from a kids makeup kid.  Instead, you want a pigmented and rich pink that is buildable as opposed to harsh and patchy.  


Milani Rose Powder Blush 


NARS Blush 


Tom Ford Cheek Color





Ah, highlighter.  Highlighter is more hit or miss than denim on denim, ordering clothes online without looking at the size chart, and even dying your hair at home.  LOL.  In all seriousness though, there are some expensive highlighters that belong in the drugstore category based on their performance.  That being said, there are also some really bomb highlighters for pretty cheap.  Keep your distance from chalky, dull, and powdery shades.  


Wet n Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder


Milk Makeup Highlighter 


FENTY BEAUTY BY RIHANNA Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter 




Eyeshadow Palettes

To pass my test, an eyeshadow palette should have little to no fallout (it’s hard to avoid), a combination of shimmer AND matte shades, as well as pigment that doesn't take years to build up.  If you can snag these three traits out of a palette, it’s a keeper no matter the price.  


Color Story Eyeshadow Palette Karma


Morphe 35O Nature Glow Eyeshadow Palette 


Pat McGrath Labs Mothership VII Eyeshadow Palette - Divine Rose Collection 





Liquid liner has always been my favorite.  Whether you're with me or you tend to stick to pencil liners, you want a smooth application.  If you're able to test the liner before you purchase it, draw a line on the back of your hand to make sure it is a rich black color (or whichever shade you're looking for!) as opposed to a faded gray.  Remember, little to no pigment hints at bad quality.  


NYX Professional Makeup Matte Liquid Liner Black 


Benefit Cosmetics Roller Liner Liquid Eyeliner 


GUERLAIN Precision Felt Eyeliner 





I'm going to let you in on a little secret -- Some of the best mascaras I’ve owned were from the drugstore! Plus, you should be replacing your mascara every couple of months so unless you're hooked on an expensive one, it's ok to cheap out on this step of your makeup routine.


L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara 


Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara 


GUCCI Mascara L'Obscur 





If you're going for full glam or rely on falsies to help naturally thicken your lashes, there is a set out there for you.  I recommend saving some money and picking up cheaper lashes if you want a wispy or natural look.  For glam or event lashes, it’s okay to splurge and buy a pair of nicer reusable lashes.  Oh, and if you're new to lashes, use clear lash glue to start out! You’ll thank me later!


Ardell Eyelash Demi Wispies Black 


House of Lashes Iconic Lite False Lashes 


Lilly Lashes Faux Mink False Lashes NYC 




Lip Liner

Much like an eyeliner pencil, you want your lip liner to be smooth and hydrating for your lips.  Stay away from drying or chunky lip liners as these will provide a lumpy base for your lipstick or gloss.



Maybelline Color Sensational Carded Lip Liner 


KKW BEAUTY Pink Lip Liner 


HOURGLASS Panoramic Long Wear Lip Liner 




Lip Stick

Length of wear is the number one characteristic to search for in a quality lipstick.  If you find yourself constantly having to make a trip to the girls room to reapply, it’s time to go shopping and pick up a new lippy.  Keep in mind that a good matte shade will stay in place all day without drying out the lips.


Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink Lip Color


MAC Matte Lipstick 


YVES SAINT LAURENT Rouge Pur Couture The Slim Matte Lipstick 




Brow Pomade/Pencil

For blondes like myself, I have found that drugstore brow products get the job done just fine due to not needing a lot of pigment to shade my light brows.  For darker brows, feel free to spend a little more on a high end brand as opposed to a sheer tinted drugstore product if you want a deeper color payoff. 


e.l.f. Wow Brow Gel


Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow + Volumizing Eyebrow Gel 


MARC JACOBS BEAUTY Brow Wow Duo Brow Powder Pencil and Tinted Gel + 1 Pencil Refill 




Setting Spray

Setting spray is the perfect way to lock in our look, as well as give it a dewy finish.  In my experience, mists are more ideal than sprays, as sprays can oftentimes let out larger droplets than a mist.  You want your makeup to set, not run down your face!


Revlon PhotoReady Prep Set and Refresh Mist Spray


Morphe Continuous Setting Mist 


URBAN DECAY All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray 



Can I get a drum roll for the final totals?  C'mon, just do it!


Drugstore: $122.37

High End: $369.00

Luxury: $716.00


So... there you have it!  Obviously we cant put a price on you're one-of-a-kind dimples, gorgeous eyes, or cute button nose.  But the products you put on the priceless face of yours?  That's a different story.  Don't forget to vote in our poll on which range of products are your go-to's!


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